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200 inchers?

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
it's not just the few non-residents but the residents themselves. there are 150,000 archery hunters in Illinois with way over half armed with the crossbow. they are decimating the buck age structure.
Illinois is a case-study I think a book could be written about!!!!
3x the cover of iowa. It used to produce more giants than probably any state. Perfect mix of ag/best soils in world & timber. Overall it has a better foundation than iowa due to more cover.
It went from being the “top tier elite state” to mediocre. Clearly the bottom line of what happened is: the best 2-3 year olds get pummeled every season. Why it occurs & how to reverse that are not that complex.

Of course, like any state, you can find neighborhoods well managed that still produce giants. The KEY there is this happens anywhere by people saying “screw how the state or regular neighborhoods dictate things, we are gonna take it into our own hands to manage it better than the everyday area”. Coops, whatever you want to call them…. Usually pop up in response to bad regulations & hunting quality decline. It’s unfortunate because we know what it takes for hunting to be exceptional state-wide. Where EVERYONE wins on average. Vs only on the places that buck the crap regs.

IL will always produce SOME 200’s due to the short gun season + perfect whitetail habitat + guys that limit the killing. That state could blow up to better opportunities for EVERYONE & produce far more mature bucks if they went to a one buck rule. Maybe moved gun back a week. IL was amazing. Could be again but the hunters, voters & citizens would have to prioritize the resource just barely ahead of the $. & don’t misunderstand…. The $ would still be there. Heck, if they made it a one buck system or anything to improve the hunting - it actually would bring in MORE $!!!! When common sense takes ahold in IL (long shot & take some time, but it’s possible!!!!) that state could go back to being balanced, awesome, producing many 200” deer again & it COULD beat out iowa by a long shot. Illinois COULD have an amazing deer herd & premium hunting but the management of the resource has the same “great minds” behind it that run Chicago

POTENTIAL is the key word!!!! Wasted potential is the current key words 90% of states have adopted. Doesn’t mean it needs to be like that forever!!! Sorry…. Rant over. For now. ;).
 

scottonbuck

Well-Known Member
Because Dad/mentor does everything but pull the trigger.
And dad's (usually) have their kid wait for a buck..
a kid should be thrilled to kill whatever not just a buck.
Im in the boat of let them shoot what ever they want, whatever gets them excited and makes them want to hunt. If its a lame uneventful hunt the chances of them wanting to do it again are slim. So i guess im guilty of doing everything possible to make sure that we will see deer and have opportunities at deer.
 

[email protected]

Active Member
Illinois is a case-study I think a book could be written about!!!!
3x the cover of iowa. It used to produce more giants than probably any state. Perfect mix of ag/best soils in world & timber. Overall it has a better foundation than iowa due to more cover.
It went from being the “top tier elite state” to mediocre. Clearly the bottom line of what happened is: the best 2-3 year olds get pummeled every season. Why it occurs & how to reverse that are not that complex.

Of course, like any state, you can find neighborhoods well managed that still produce giants. The KEY there is this happens anywhere by people saying “screw how the state or regular neighborhoods dictate things, we are gonna take it into our own hands to manage it better than the everyday area”. Coops, whatever you want to call them…. Usually pop up in response to bad regulations & hunting quality decline. It’s unfortunate because we know what it takes for hunting to be exceptional state-wide. Where EVERYONE wins on average. Vs only on the places that buck the crap regs.

IL will always produce SOME 200’s due to the short gun season + perfect whitetail habitat + guys that limit the killing. That state could blow up to better opportunities for EVERYONE & produce far more mature bucks if they went to a one buck rule. Maybe moved gun back a week. IL was amazing. Could be again but the hunters, voters & citizens would have to prioritize the resource just barely ahead of the $. & don’t misunderstand…. The $ would still be there. Heck, if they made it a one buck system or anything to improve the hunting - it actually would bring in MORE $!!!! When common sense takes ahold in IL (long shot & take some time, but it’s possible!!!!) that state could go back to being balanced, awesome, producing many 200” deer again & it COULD beat out iowa by a long shot. Illinois COULD have an amazing deer herd & premium hunting but the management of the resource has the same “great minds” behind it that run Chicago

POTENTIAL is the key word!!!! Wasted potential is the current key words 90% of states have adopted. Doesn’t mean it needs to be like that forever!!! Sorry…. Rant over. For now. ;).
Agreed. What Illinois is doing to the deer hunting is based on short term gains and more revenue. Allowing unlimited out of state tags, crossbows, straight wall cartridges next year, and nonresidents to take 2 bucks are all designed to bring in more hunters, and more money. In the long run it's a losing game and Illinois will become worse and worse for mature bucks over time. I wonder what Illinois will do when the state becomes an average whitetail state and hunters go elsewhere? I'm in a well above average neighborhood in Illinois and it is becoming more difficult every year to get mature bucks on my farm. They are getting shot mostly now with crossbows when they are 2 and 3 years old. It's a frustrating situation for guys trying to hunt mature bucks, and it will continue to get worse over time unless major changes take place.
 

CurtisWalker

Moderator
Here’s a thought going off the less than 1% of bucks are 200”.

Say 0.5% of bucks are 200”.. Iowa’s deer herd is 400,000 deer give or take. Divide that by 4 and say there’s 100,000 bucks. Probably more than that if I had to guess.

100,000x 0.005 = 500

500/99= roughly 5

That’s 5 200” deer per county in Iowa.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

newfarmer

Member
Curious on why you would want to limit youth to doe only? If a buck gets killed does it matter if its a 12 year old or a 30 year old that kills it, still a dead buck.
My opinion is this- Youth can shoot bucks during youth season. The moment its a different season, they should be limited to does... Now, I am not well versed in youth yet, but I know there were several people in my area that had their kids out in November with Rifles since it was "youth season" (no idea if thats truly illegal or...again, wont be well versed until my kids are old enough)... again, my opinion, you get out of September, it should be does only for those youth tags...just simply my opinion on that piece of it.
 

CurtisWalker

Moderator
My opinion is this- Youth can shoot bucks during youth season. The moment its a different season, they should be limited to does... Now, I am not well versed in youth yet, but I know there were several people in my area that had their kids out in November with Rifles since it was "youth season" (no idea if thats truly illegal or...again, wont be well versed until my kids are old enough)... again, my opinion, you get out of September, it should be does only for those youth tags...just simply my opinion on that piece of it.

Rifles in November? If this is Iowa it’s completely illegal.


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newfarmer

Member
Rifles in November? If this is Iowa it’s completely illegal.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Yes iowa. The dads said it was legal cause youth tags were good for all seasons. Said weapons didn’t matter since youth tag. Just a loophole that obviously can be exploited (at the time we had no game officer for 3 counties)
So that’s why I’m not “for” the floating tag from first hand experience
 

Ishi

PMA Member
Yes iowa. The dads said it was legal cause youth tags were good for all seasons. Said weapons didn’t matter since youth tag. Just a loophole that obviously can be exploited (at the time we had no game officer for 3 counties)
So that’s why I’m not “for” the floating tag from first hand experience
It’s hard to do but next time call the DNR and let them sort things out
 

newfarmer

Member
It’s hard to do but next time call the DNR and let them sort things out
We did call (me and the neighbor). That’s how we found out there wasn’t a local officer at the time. We were told it would be really hard to follow up at the time due to work load. Since then- we have a new officer finally that lives 3 miles away
 

IowaBowHunter1983

Super Moderator
Staff member
Yes iowa. The dads said it was legal cause youth tags were good for all seasons. Said weapons didn’t matter since youth tag. Just a loophole that obviously can be exploited (at the time we had no game officer for 3 counties)
So that’s why I’m not “for” the floating tag from first hand experience
Thats not how it works. If somone is taking their kid out in November with a rifle they are poaching.
 

Bucksnbears

Well-Known Member
Sadly, I don't think the youth season is working.
Originally, it was intended to get them interested in hunting.
I'm not seeing it.
Especially if dad puts them on a "biggie" right off the bat.

It's what I'm SEEING.
 

Stoney

Member
As a father who has a youth who is youth hunting, I really like the fact that she and I can hunt more than one season provided we use the appropriate weapon for said season. Kids can be pretty busy these days with activities and it’s surprising how quickly a season can pass with few opportunities to get out. Not feeling rushed is welcome. She is encouraged to shoot whatever she pleases and I do my best to explain our strategies.
 

Obsessed

Well-Known Member
Sadly, I don't think the youth season is working.
Originally, it was intended to get them interested in hunting.
I'm not seeing it.
Especially if dad puts them on a "biggie" right off the bat.

It's what I'm SEEING.
From a father of 4 that all participate in the youth program:
1. I agree that 'some' adults have the opportunity to scout out and put their kids on BIGGIE BUCKS, but I and the majority of all other families participating aren't so fortunate.
2. It has helped all of my kids, and a few other kids I've taken over the years, become interested in hunting. (Even if they get busy with life, the interest has been sparked and memories have been made.)
3. I LOVE the fact that I don't have to buy my kids multiple tags if they don't fill their youth tag during youth season. (Youth season is SO SHORT and still usually pretty dang hot and buggy.)
4. Having youth tags go to doe only after youth season could damage their interest in hunting. If a nice big buck presents a shot and they aren't able to shoot it during archery, shotgun or muzzy season? I know that would sour my taste for hunting if it happened to me.
5. We all have our opinions about youth tags, but I'd like to see the stats that are recorded by the DNR reporting system, before I drew any solid conclusions about them and what should be done to change the program.
6. If it's not broken, don't fix it. For the most part, I think the youth tag program is a great program that accomplishes what it's intended to do. I can't tell you how happy it's made this old man to experience deer hunting through the eyes of a kid again. I pray they never change it.
 

RinggoCy

Well-Known Member
Late to the conversation but I've really enjoyed this thread. Really fun topic to think about. The regulation rabbit holes related to what makes 200 inch deer producing areas was interesting discussion, as well as the cell cam topic.

I would say for sure that there are many counties in Iowa that don't have a single 200" in them this year. They might occasionally but it's rare due to lack of habitat.
Those counties that do have them regularly, I think they are mostly concentrated in certain pockets and much less common outside those pockets. Lee Lakosky's neighborhood would have a good chance to have multiple in the area just about every year outside of extreme situations such as a decimating EHD outbreak that sets the herd back for multiple years. Same with Drury neighborhoods. Those are the "name" guys but I think there a quite a few of those little neighborhoods around the state that are hunted by regular people that have the right balance of what it takes to produce that caliber of buck semi regularly. I also think the big, big deer have a knack for hiding in plain sight. One of the biggest deer I've seen killed in my immediate area came out of an 80 acre CRP field with one little pond (closer in size to a puddle) with some small trees and brush all around it. Not many people would look at that spot and say "Oh yeah, there's a stud laying in there every day." Went all year not knowing about that buck and then boom, he gets killed.

Outside of those prime neighborhoods, I think they are a lot more rare. Even in a great Iowa county, I'd don't think there is a 200 inch deer in every township of the county or anything like that. In those prime areas there might be multiple in one township... 2,3, more? Heck, might be multiple in the same 1 mile section when the stars align. But that's the thing, the stars have to align to produce just one 200" deer even in good areas. He has to have the genetic potential to even have a chance in the first place (and I think more deer have that potential than we might think). He has to not get hit by a car for the first 5 or 6 years of his life. He has to survive potentially tough winters, injuries from fighting, natural diseases, predators, etc. for 5 or 6 years. He needs the nutrition. He has to be passed by every hunter he ever encounters or be plain lucky for 5? 6? hunting seasons. How many hunters are passing a 5 year old 190? Not many, if any at all. Just so many things have to go right and unfortunately there aren't that many places where a buck can somewhat regularly get all of the things required to reach that magical 200" bar.

Personally I've hunted in what I would call a decent part of the state (southern Iowa) for 15 years. It's not amazing but it's decent. It's not one of THOSE neighborhoods by any means. I don't have complete control over any of the properties I hunt. While I have a couple places I am the only bowhunter, everything I hunt will get hit hard during gun season and unfortunately that means lots of bucks never coming remotely close to their potential. That's not the sole reason for the lack of 200s on those farms but I've never seen a 200" deer on the hoof and have never had a 200" deer on camera. I've had some success over the years. Nothing like some people but I have a wall downstairs that doesn't look too bad. But I've never even broke 170". Been really close a few times with bucks that have ended up just shy but I haven't even got over that hump yet, let alone 180, 190, or 200.

That said, I do think the potential is there in my area but it isn't getting achieved. I've passed some bucks over the years that I SOOOOO badly wanted to see what they'd turn into and they've ended up being killed by gun hunters pushing the farm. I've attached a few pictures of one of those bucks that I feel very strongly was young and had giant buck potential. Had lots of pictures of him in 2019. Showed up again in 2020 (it's difficult to get repeat bucks year after year on my farms) I made a conscious decision to not shoot him in summer of 2020. I stuck to that and passed him multiple times in fall of 2020 only for him to get a pickup ride on the opening day of 1st season from a guy I know. Scored right at 160". Could this buck have reached 200 with 2 more years? 3 more years? Maybe he didn't even have that kind of potential and his biggest rack only gets to 185. Maybe he get's plowed by a semi on the highway in 2020 anyway. It's fun to think about what could have been... it's also not fun to think about what could have been with this guy and others.
 

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I spoke with a guy last weekend who manages over 2000 acres with a group of 4 other guys in one of the prime areas in Southern IA. He told me in the last 11years they have had 2 maybe 3 bucks that would gross 200" To me that said all I need to know about how rare it would be for a 200" to show up on the smaller acreages even in the best counties. Don't get me wrong they are out there but most of them are in the highly managed areas with big landowners.
 

Daver

PMA Member
Also just a FWIW data point...I ran into a friend of mine a week ago and we started swapping deer stories...and pics. Short version...He is hunting a legit 230"+ on his farm this year. He has last years sheds that are 220"ish and trail cams reveal a bigger set yet this year. Needless to say...he is stoked for this season! :)

How many are there???? I don't really know...but...in some areas they really do exist in enough numbers that it makes for an interesting conversation like this one.
 

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